Built in the Ginza district, the Shizuoka Tower gave Tange a chance to materialize his Metabolist ideals, which called for a new urban typology that could self perpetuate in an organic, vernacular, “metabolic” manner. The narrow, 189 square-meter, triangular site inspired Tange to design a vertical structure, consisting of a main infrastructural core, which could develop into an urban megastructure, into which an ever-growing number of prefabricated capsules could be “plugged-in.”
The infrastructural core was a 7.7 meter diameter cylinder, reaching a height of 57 meters, containing stairs, two elevators, and a kitchen and sanitary facilities on each floor. The core served as an access shaft to the modular office units: cantilever glass and steel boxes of 3.5 meters which punctuated the main core on alternating sides. A total of thirteen individual offices were arranged in five groups of two or three modules connected asymmetrically to the central beam. Balconies formed in the gaps between the clusters, allowing for future units to potentially be “plugged-in,” an idea which never materialized. The structure today has the same amount of units as when first erected in 1967, and so Tange’s Metabolist vision for a perpetually regenerating, prefabricated urban megastructure was never fulfilled.
Name: Shizuoka Tower│Type: Office│Architect: Kenzo Tange│Completed: 1967